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Evolution of Stars and Stellar Populations

ISBN: 978-0-470-09220-0
394 pages
December 2005
Evolution of Stars and Stellar Populations (0470092203) cover image


Evolution of Stars and Stellar Populations is a comprehensive presentation of the theory of stellar evolution and its application to the study of stellar populations in galaxies. Taking a unique approach to the subject, this self-contained text introduces first the theory of stellar evolution in a clear and accessible manner, with particular emphasis placed on explaining the evolution with time of observable stellar properties, such as luminosities and surface chemical abundances. This is followed by a detailed presentation and discussion of a broad range of related techniques, that are widely applied by researchers in the field to investigate the formation and evolution of galaxies.

This book will be invaluable for undergraduates and graduate students in astronomy and astrophysics, and will also be of interest to researchers working in the field of Galactic, extragalactic astronomy and cosmology.
* comprehensive presentation of stellar evolution theory
* introduces the concept of stellar population and describes "stellar population synthesis" methods to study ages and star formation histories of star clusters and galaxies.
* presents stellar evolution as a tool for investigating the evolution of galaxies and of the universe in general.
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Table of Contents


1. Stars and the Universe.

1.1Setting the stage.

1.2 Cosmic Kinematics.

1.3 Cosmic Dynamics.

1.4 Particles - and nucleosynthesis.

1.5 CMB fluctuations and structure formation.

1.6 Cosmological Parameters.

1.7 The inflationary Paradigm.

1.8 The role of Stellar Evolution.

2. Equation of State of the Stellar Matter.

2.1 Physical conditions of the stellar matter.

3. Equations of Stellar Structure.

3.1 Basic assumptions[.

3.2 Method of solution of the stellar structure equations.

3.3 Non-standard physical process.

4. Star Formation and Evolution.

4.1 Overall picture of stellar evolution.

4.2 Star formation.

4.3 Evolution along the Hayashi track.

5. The Hydrogen Burning Phase.

5.1 Overview.

5.2 The nuclear reactions.

5.3 The central H-burning phase in low main sequence stars.

5.4 The central H-burning phase in upper main sequence stars.

5.5 The dependence of MS tracks on chemical composition and  convection efficiency.

5.6 Very low-mass stars.

5.7 The mass - Luminosity relations.

5.8 The Schonberg-Chandrasekhar limit.

5.9 Post-main sequence evolution.

5.10 Dependence of the main RGB features of physical and chemical parameters.

5.11 Evolutionary properties of very metal-poor stars.

6. The Helium Burning Phase.

6.1 Introduction.

6.2 The nuclear reactions.

6.3 The zero age horizontal branch.

6.4 The core He-burning phase in low mass stars.

6.5 The central He-burning phase in more massive stars.

6.6 Pulsational properties of core He-burning stars.

7. The Advanced Evolutionary Phase.

7.1 Introduction.

7.2 The asymptotic giant branch.

7.3 The Chandrasekhar limit and the evolution of stars with large CO cores.

7.4 carbon-oxygen white dwarfs.

7.5 The advanced evolutionary stages of massive stars.

7.6 Type la supernovae.

7.7 Neutron stars.

7.8 Black holes.

8. From Theory to Observations.

8.1 Spectroscopic notation of the stellar chemical composition.

8.2 From stellar models to observed spectra and magnitudes.

8.3 The effect of interstellar extinction.

8.4 K-correction for high red-shift objects.

8.5 Some general comments about colour-magnitude-diagrams.

9. Simple Stellar Populations.

9.1 Theoretical isochrones.

9.2 Old simple stellar populations.

9.3 Young simple stellar populations.

10. Unresolved Stellar Populations.

10.1 Definition and problems.

10.2 Determination of the star formation history.

10.3  Distance indicators.

11. Unresolved Stellar Populations.

11.1 Simple stellar populations.

11.2 Composite stellar populations.

11.3 Distance to unresolved stellar populations.

Appendix I: Constants.

Appendix II: Selected Web Sites.



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The Wiley Advantage

  • Introduces the theory of stellar evolution alongside its applications to stellar populations.
  • Comprehensive presentation of stellar evolution theory with full explanations of the photometric and chemical properties of stars
  • Introduces the concept of stellar population from an observational perspective
  • Presents a comprehensive analysis of the physics necessary to understand how stars work and how they evolve.
  • Presents stellar evolution as a tool to investigate the evolution of galaxies and of the universe in general
  • Supplementary website with stellar evolution tracks and programmes to compute synthetic CMD’s integrated magnitudes and colours
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"...books in this field will be increasingly useful." (Physical Sciences Educational Reviews, December 2006)

"…will serve generations of students to come as an authoritative reference which details how stars and stellar populations come to develop (and then evolve) over long blocks of time." (The Electric Review, March/April 2006)

"Well and clearly written and well referenced and illustrated … a valuable and welcome contribution." (Observatory, August 2006)

“…considerable achievement of collecting many fascinating and useful graphs and figures in one place.”  (Physical Sciences Educational Reviews, December 2006)


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